Who is “Jack Aubrey”? Could there be such …

Comment posted 2012 Scottish Islands Peaks Race Oban to Troon – just finished by Peter MacKenzie.

Who is “Jack Aubrey”? Could there be such a coincidence that our “marine professionals” cheerleader actually has the same monicker as that murderous, belligerent, Napoleonic War nutter played by Russell Crowe? Maybe he has Aubrey-like anger issues. Or is he just a wannabe hard man? In fact, I’m beginning to see some very disturbing connections here … I surely hope he’s never given charge of so much as a kayak, far less a ship.

Use your real name, man, and have a proper reasoned discussion if you’re capable of it. Dismantle my interpretation of the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea if you can, and BTW, your opinion might carry some weight if you wouldn’t hide behind a rather pathetic pseudonym. What happened last week was real world, not fantasy.

Nothing in the collision regs says that commercial shipping has any rights over anyone else. If you can’t accept that then I hope you never take charge of anything that floats because you’ll plainly be a menace.

Peter MacKenzie also commented

  • Pharos may claim simply colreg Rule 9, the right “not to be impeded” by sailing vessels under 20 metres length in a narrow channel.

    At nautical college, my lecturer, former NLB master of the old 1950s built Pharos as it happens, emphasised that the over-riding essence of the colregs is that you must take every action possible to avoid collision, and with all due regard for the circumstances.

    I think Rules 7 and 8 may have some relevance. Rule 7, Risk of Collision: was there a risk of collison? Most certainly, yes, many times over. Why? Because when Pharos left her berth, the channel, and indeed much of the rest of the bay, was congested, full of slow, close-hauled and tacking sailing vessels. And let’s not forget that from the perspective of the yacht skippers, there would be colregs obligations to contend with between the 50 sailing boats too.

    Rule 8, Action to Avoid Collision, “8(e) If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel may slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion.” (Or even remain at your berth for a few minutes longer?) Obligations on a right of way vessel “8(f) (iii) A vessel the passage of which is not to be impeded remains fully obliged to comply with the rules of this part when the two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision.” The essence of Rule 8 is, don’t get into a close quarters situation, regardless of who is right, and if you do, then avoiding collision takes over from the right not to be impeded.
    Rule 13, Overtaking “13)a) … any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.” Difficult when that’s vessels x 50 to be overtaken in a narrow channel and all are constrained by draught, even assuming they’re trying not to impede you.

    Finally, Rule 34, sound signals, “34(d) When … either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle.” Since it seem as though there was a lot of failure to understand intentions or actions, perhaps the sailing vessels should have given 5 blasts when Pharos was leaving the NLB pier.

    Edit – to cut through any irony in the above, I believe Pharos should not have gotten under way if it was obvious what she was heading out into. And given the view avaialble to her from the lighthouse pier, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t crystal clear.

  • I echo Robert’s view. Pharos’s performance is in stark contrast to that of the Cal Mac outer isles ferry which meets the race fleet every year just outside Dunollie and invariably keeps well clear and shows patience and the short few minutes of forebearance required. And unlike Pharos, the ferry doesn’t have dynamic positioning systems that can balance it on a penny.

Recent comments by Peter MacKenzie

  • 50th anniversary of first west coast car ferry – from LOLOs to ROROs and DODOs
    I’ve still to experience that pleasure.
  • 50th anniversary of first west coast car ferry – from LOLOs to ROROs and DODOs
    It’s not so widely publicised that, even by recent Calmac standards, the Hebrides, Clansman and Columba were massively over-specified for their ferry services, being protected against nuclear, biological and chemical warfare and fitted out with scores of cabin berths. The entire accommodation was enclosed in a sealable ‘citadel’ (with airlock connections to the outside world equipped with Sellafield-type emergency showers) and the external surfaces were equipped with nuclear washdown facilities. Had the balloon gone up, I’d bet my bottom dollar the beneficiaries of these capabilities would not have been Joe Public. All these years later, it’s still unclear as to whose escape these boats would have provided. Evacuation of the Scottish Office in a nuclear war? Essential Dounreay staff after an accident?

    By comparison with every other west coast ferry up to that time, these three had exceptionally plush accommodation and so their introduction set the scene for the present sense of entitlement and expectation in relation to what should actually be a simple basic service.

  • More ‘productive’ discussions with UK government ministers for Western and Northern Isles
    So your case is to imply by extrapolation from one example of corruption to having a belief that the entire judicial, legal, law enforcement and legislative apparatus is corrupt. Is that your point? If so, well I suppose your entitled to hold that view but I hope you’ll be campaigning for something to be done about it. If I were you, it would be right at the top of my list, way above the constitutional future of a handful of islanders.

    My point is more specific. It’s that Stuart Hill is demonstrably delusional, seriously so, and lucky to be repeatedly indulged by the courts. The extrapolation I restrict myself to is to state that those who found their constitutional assertions on Mr Hill’s proclamations really need to stand back and have a good look at themselves.

  • Problems with both pro-indy and pro-union campaigns
    I get the impression Higher English doesn’t figure among them.
  • More ‘productive’ discussions with UK government ministers for Western and Northern Isles
    So, AA, on the basis of one article on your anonymous blog, we are to extrapolate to the conclusion that all lawyers, legal academics, the judiciary, the legislature, the prosecution service, the police force and everyone in between and beyond is colluding in some sort of mega conspiracy?

    Interesting theory. I imagine Mr Hill would give you his hearty approval.

    Will you be quoting David Icke’s blog next?

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26 Responses to Who is “Jack Aubrey”? Could there be such …

  1. The Helicopter would be landing at the Northern Lighthouse Board depot, not far from Manor House. It looks like their helicopter.

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  2. Excellent reporting – but I’m mystified at the behaviour of the skipper of the Pharos; a couple of years ago I returned to Plymouth on the Brittany Ferries flaghip – the Pont Aven, 41,000 tons. It was a sunday afternoon and Plymouth Sound was infested with small boats racing. Pont Aven crawled around and through them, taking great care – and no tooting at anyone. I’d like to hear Pharos’s side of the story – surely it doesn’t need a pilot in Oban waters, or maybe a French skipper?

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  3. I echo Robert’s view. Pharos’s performance is in stark contrast to that of the Cal Mac outer isles ferry which meets the race fleet every year just outside Dunollie and invariably keeps well clear and shows patience and the short few minutes of forebearance required. And unlike Pharos, the ferry doesn’t have dynamic positioning systems that can balance it on a penny.

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  4. We on yacht Capricorn (Team SPIE) were the yacht right under Pharos bow when the skipper came out onto the gantry and asked us to make room in a less than polite manner including gestures.

    In strict accordance with the COLREGS he was undoubtably correct in that he was manouevering in restricted waters and so had right of way – but was his need so great to leave whilst the fleet were negotiating the tight exit to Oban Bay whilst adrenalined up to the eyeballs?

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    • This is the core issue, isn’t it? Why then? Pharos does not have the sort of deadlines the CalMac ferries have to deal with. The decision to sail just then seems unhelpfully blinkered – , when earlier or 15 minutes later would have been respectful of a once-a-year unique, spectacular and highly competitive event.

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      • Pharos was waiting in the bay all morning; we sailed quite close to her while jockeying for the start. Why she decided to leave when it was clear that there was going to be significant traffic in the narrows seems to require explanation. While she could argue she was stand on vessel, this give her no rights if the other boats also are restricted in their ability to manoeuvre, which was the case with these sailing vessels in light or no wind in a restricted channel. I think team SPIE/Capricorn have reason to be less charitable. Pharos is funded from public money.

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        • Pharos may claim simply colreg Rule 9, the right “not to be impeded” by sailing vessels under 20 metres length in a narrow channel.

          At nautical college, my lecturer, former NLB master of the old 1950s built Pharos as it happens, emphasised that the over-riding essence of the colregs is that you must take every action possible to avoid collision, and with all due regard for the circumstances.

          I think Rules 7 and 8 may have some relevance. Rule 7, Risk of Collision: was there a risk of collison? Most certainly, yes, many times over. Why? Because when Pharos left her berth, the channel, and indeed much of the rest of the bay, was congested, full of slow, close-hauled and tacking sailing vessels. And let’s not forget that from the perspective of the yacht skippers, there would be colregs obligations to contend with between the 50 sailing boats too.

          Rule 8, Action to Avoid Collision, “8(e) If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel may slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion.” (Or even remain at your berth for a few minutes longer?) Obligations on a right of way vessel “8(f) (iii) A vessel the passage of which is not to be impeded remains fully obliged to comply with the rules of this part when the two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision.” The essence of Rule 8 is, don’t get into a close quarters situation, regardless of who is right, and if you do, then avoiding collision takes over from the right not to be impeded.
          Rule 13, Overtaking “13)a) … any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.” Difficult when that’s vessels x 50 to be overtaken in a narrow channel and all are constrained by draught, even assuming they’re trying not to impede you.

          Finally, Rule 34, sound signals, “34(d) When … either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle.” Since it seem as though there was a lot of failure to understand intentions or actions, perhaps the sailing vessels should have given 5 blasts when Pharos was leaving the NLB pier.

          Edit – to cut through any irony in the above, I believe Pharos should not have gotten under way if it was obvious what she was heading out into. And given the view avaialble to her from the lighthouse pier, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t crystal clear.

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          • Thanks for that explanation. I agree that she has a right “not to be impeded” but the essence of this is that Pharos put herself in the position of claiming this right at a point in time where the yachts were already committed to the passage, and because of the light winds, unable to give way to this requirement. As a result I think Pharos at least risked breaching the rule 8 that you describe.

            Still, as discussed at the briefing, and regardless of the rules of the sea, the race rules expressly allow the use of engines in such situations, and perhaps this might have avoided a close quarters situation.

            I think both parties, and indeed all the race participants should reflect on this and learn lessons. Describing us as WAFIs in tupperware boats really risks polarising the discussion over what is a complex issue. I have had several episodes where professional seamen have not acted with credit to their profession. It does not make me want to insult the professionalism of the others by using disparaging language.

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        • NLB is funded from light dues gathered from shipping using our waters, and doesn’t cost the tax payer one penny. Sorry to burst your bubble. WAFIS on the other hand, use all the facilities without charge…you’re welcome.
          The wider issue is whether the opinion of leisure sailors in Tupperware boats “adrenalined up to the eyeballs” is of any value arguing about “steam” gives way to sail in a commercial shipping lane, getting in the way of marine professionals.

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          • The only alternative to the Pharos being mildly inconvenienced was for all the competitors to disqualify themselves by starting their engines. Are you seriously suggesting this is what should have happened?

            I wasn’t there, but it sounds to me as though the skipper of the Pharos was unnecessarily and pointlessly aggressive no matter what the technical situation under the IRPCS. Hardly the behaviour one would expect of a ‘marine professional’.

            Fortunately relations between yachties and ‘marine professionals’ – whether fishermen, CalMac, tourist boats or dive boat skippers – are generally excellent in our local waters, and this incident is very much a one-off.

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      • yes she was on a cruise of the Clyde, saw her on monday afternoon off the cumbraes and again off Jura on tuesday afternoon her speed was very slow about 6 knts , why didn,t he leave by the south channel!!!
        Or perhaps he should have gone to SPECSAVERS !!!
        His BULLY BOY i,m bigger than you attitude stinks

        Calmac however were brilliant as ever , altering course to keep out of eveyones way

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  5. Why can’t this event be given more advance publicity to promote public interest? The start from Oban is always worth watching, even without the Pharos!

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  7. I was racing on my fathers yacht during SIPR 12, and I am disgusted at the complete arrogance of the Pharos Captain, from our view it looked as if he was deliberately trying to cause chaos. Why could the Pharos have not waited for 30 mins or leave the bay via the sound of Kerrera?

    I am looking forward to the video of the whole incidence going up on youtube for the whole world to see and make their own opinion! My personal opinion is that the captain of the Pharos, should explain his actions to not only the SIPR team but also to the NLB commissioners & why he should allowed to keep his job!!!

    It was utterly disgusting behaviour from the Pharos who should have waited or left 30 mins earlier! Something needs to be done about this before someone seriously gets hurt or killed!! The captain is a complete nutter!!

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  8. Who is “Jack Aubrey”? Could there be such a coincidence that our “marine professionals” cheerleader actually has the same monicker as that murderous, belligerent, Napoleonic War nutter played by Russell Crowe? Maybe he has Aubrey-like anger issues. Or is he just a wannabe hard man? In fact, I’m beginning to see some very disturbing connections here … I surely hope he’s never given charge of so much as a kayak, far less a ship.

    Use your real name, man, and have a proper reasoned discussion if you’re capable of it. Dismantle my interpretation of the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea if you can, and BTW, your opinion might carry some weight if you wouldn’t hide behind a rather pathetic pseudonym. What happened last week was real world, not fantasy.

    Nothing in the collision regs says that commercial shipping has any rights over anyone else. If you can’t accept that then I hope you never take charge of anything that floats because you’ll plainly be a menace.

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    • Touchy?!!
      Calm down dear, let’s keep it real. I suggest looking up “brevity” in your dictionary and apply it to your posts, which are in danger of becoming longer than the original articles.
      Lots of people had a great day despite these windy colreg explanations. As Homer would say, “blah, blah, blah”!
      Well done Forargyll and all involved, what a spectacle.

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  9. It looks as if the Oban Times has applied the telescope to the blind eye because I see no report of this major event whatsover in today’s issue.
    Well done For Argyll for your excellent coverage.

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  10. I was an RYA Offshore Instructor for 20 years on the West Coast. All trainees had to obey the Collision Regs. to the letter, as they had been taught during their shore based theory training – but always with the rider – never take your eyes off the other vessel- he probably knows less than you do!

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  11. Whatever the correct interpretation of the Collision Regs , it seems that at least Pharos’s master is guilty of a gross lack of manners. If she absolutely required to sail when she did , were the race organisers informed ?Did she make a general announcement on VHF , as Calmac do , that she was about to depart.

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